Recent declines in life expectancy at birth in the United States
Presented by : Robert Anderson (National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) ; Discussant : Viviana Egidi (Université La Sapienza, Rome)
In the United States, the trend in life expectancy at birth since 1950 has generally been upward in response to improving mortality. These improvements have been driven largely by declining death rates due to cardiovascular diseases and cancer. While the increase in life expectancy at birth during this period has not been wholly monotonic, the few intermittent declines in life expectancy have generally been small and limited to a single year, after which the upward trend has resumed. These declines have generally been the result of severe and/or pervasive seasonal influenza. More recently, however, the United States has experienced declining life expectancy. Life expectancy at birth declined a total of 0.3 years from 2014-2017. The change in life expectancy at birth is analyzed using Arriaga’s decomposition method. Factors in this decline include increasing mortality due to unintentional injuries, especially drug overdoses, and suicide. Also important is the recent (since 2011) attenuation of the decline in cardiovascular disease mortality, especially heart disease and cerebrovascular diseases.
Robert Anderson is Chief of the Mortality Statistics Branch at the National Center for Health Statistics in the United States. He is responsible for the compilation, analysis and publication of US national mortality statistics. In addition to the analysis of changes in life expectancy and an interest in mortality generally, his research interests include the effect of changes in the International Classification of Diseases on mortality statistics, improvements in cause-of-death certification, sudden unexplained infant deaths and multiple cause of death analysis.